Lead poisoning

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Why This Indicator Matters

Why it is important
According to the national centers for disease control, protecting children from exposure to lead is important to lifelong good health. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. The most important step parents, doctors, and others can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs.
CDC fact sheet on elevated lead levels in children

What the data shows
In 2016, there were an estimated 358 children ages 0 - 3 in Maine who tested above 5 ug/dl for the presence of lead in their blood.  The cities of Lewiston/Auburn (64) and Portland/Westbrook (40) accounted for about 30% of all cases. About 11,000 children get screened each year, and of that number 2.9% - 3.5% test positive for elevated blood levels.
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Definitions: Children can be given a blood test to measure the level of lead in their blood. If the level is above 5 micrograms per deciliter it is an elevated blood lead level indicative of lead poisoning. The numerical measure includes both confirmed cases equal to or above 5 mg/dll as well as 38% of unconfirmed cases for an estimate number of cases in a county. The rate of lead paint exposure reflects the  rate per 1,000 children in the county ages 0 to 36 months with elevated lead paint exposure. The denominator is the number of children ages 0 - 36 months from the 2016 population per the Maine Office of Vital Statistics.

Data Source: Maine Center for Disease Control, Maine Tracking Network

Footnotes: Uploaded March 2018.